Vanilla Pumpkin – Homemade Baby Food Blog

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Homemade Baby Food Recipes – Pure as babies

Link: Big List of Toddler Art Gift Ideas

I’m busting it trying to find low cost, personal gifts this year for my family and close friends. I came across this list at The Crafty Crow, and thought it was worth sharing.

Since my shelves and refrigerator are filling up with tiny masterpieces, what better way to cut some clutter and gift them? Homemade gifts are so much more personalized that store bought in my opinion. I’ve already matted and framed some of her art, but many of these ideas are new to me.

I’ve also purchased a few canvasses from Hobby Lobby during a 50% off sale and let her paint them. I could go on for days about how much she loved painting these. I picked out colors that matched her room and let her paint, using one color at a time. We let each color dry for about a day so the colors didn’t get all muddled. After she was finished I sprayed it with a matte acrylic spray and we hung it in her room. She is super proud! I’ve had several family members ask for her to paint a canvas for them in the colors of certain rooms in their homes. More Christmas gifts done!

I love the idea of making a portfolio book, maybe in a few years when she’s amassed a variety of projects, and she can see her progress. Read the full list here from The Crafty Crow.

Photo credit to Lodewijk van den Broek

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, Best Of, Homemade Crafts, links, , , , , , , , , ,

Homemade, DIY Vegetable Stock

So many dishes benefit from good, quality vegetable stock and how gratifying would it be to be able to use your own homemade stock? By saving and freezing unused veggie scraps, peelings, leaves and stalks, you can quickly accumulate enough to make your own stock.  This post by The Kitchn has some useful suggestions and tips for this project including vegetables to use and what not to use:

Vegetables to use: Onions, carrots, and celery are the key ingredients in vegetable stock, but many other vegetables can add depth and flavor. Wash and save roots, stalks, leaves, ends, and peelings from vegetables such as…

Additionally, The Kitchn has a great post detailing the recipe for using your new stockpile.

After using The Kitchn’s recipe and trying out a few others, I’ve found that one of the most important things to remember is to make sure you don’t overcook your stock or the flavors will turn bitter. I’d also suggest adding a bay leaf and a few peppercorns to the simmer for a more complex taste. Feel free to experiment as depending on your vegetable mixture, you’ll get a different flavor. Good luck!

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, baby, Bay, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Family, Freezer Friendly, Herbs and Spices, Medley, Recipes, Tomato, Vegetables, , , , , ,

Kitchen Gear: Beaba Babycook

Calling all gadget lovers, time savers, multi-taskers, and lovers of the all-in-one. Let me introduce you to my newest love, the Beaba Babycook.

babycookThe BPA-free Babycook is made to gently steam baby’s meals in 15 minutes or less, and then blend them into perfect purees, all in the same little appliance. And when I say little, the Babycook is so compact that it fit perfectly into a smaller wall cabinet. No sacrifice of counter space or rearranging existing cabinet contents to accommodate the Babycook. Already have have some of baby’s food frozen? Babycook also defrosts and warms precooked foods in the same unit.

For those of you that have read my posts, I’m sure you’ve noticed my preference to steaming most of baby’s foods. The gentle steam helps preserve the nutrients in food because, unlike boiling, the nutrients aren’t removed in the cooking water.

The Babycook was originally a French phenom, but is now making big splashes in the US. Babycook even won the 2008 JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association) Innovation Award.

The Babycook even came with a little cookbook of starter recipes to try out. Baby K loved the Whiting, Rice and Spinach recipe, and I loved how simple and fast it was. Baby K is a little young for a few of the recipes, which are all conveniently categorized by age, but I can’t wait to try the Tomato coulis recipe in the 12-36 months age range.

The first night we had the Babycook, I planned to have salmon, asparagus and potatoes for my husband and I, so I thought I’d put the Babycook to the test right off the bat and make Baby K an adapted version of our family’s meal.

  • small salmon fillet, about 1 oz.
  • 1 small yellow potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 asparagus spears
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • pinch of dried parsley

After steaming on the highest water level for about 15 minutes, the salmon, potato and asparagus spears were all perfectly cooked. I used the Babycook spatula to lift the steaming basket out of the unit, and placed the cooked food, olive oil and parsley into the blending container, which contained the cooking liquid. I then switched on the processor and a few seconds later, Baby K was eating her  little dinner.

Other Vanilla Pumpkin recipes well-suited to the Babycook:beaba-babycook

I will say though, that the Babycook isn’t really designed to prepare bulk batches of purees. It’s small steaming basket at 2 1/2 cups is perfect for preparing a few meals.

Beaba Babycook is available at Giggle.com.

Disclosure: I did receive a Babycook to try, but I believe in transparent and honesty in blogging. Receipt of this product did not influence my review. You can read my disclosure policy in full here.

Filed under: baby, Gear, Reviews, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY Baby Wipes, Week 2: Soft and Lotion-y

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be trying out some of the homemade baby wipe instructions (recipes?) that I find. I’ll post back with my comments, and I encourage you to do the same! Do you know of any tips for making your own baby wipes? Let me know by posting below!

I apologize that I don’t know who to credit for this tutorial, since it was sent to me by one of my co-workers, who used it when her babies were little. Please let me know if you know who I should credit!

Materials

  • Roll of paper towels, my co-worker recommended VIVA
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tbs baby lotion
  • 1 tbs baby soap
  • 1 tbs baby oil
  • container

Instructions

  • Cut paper towel roll in half horizontally, using an electric knife, or large kitchen knife
  • Remove the cardboard roll
  • Combine boiling water, baby lotion, baby soap, baby oil (boiling water helps all ingredients bind together)
  • Mix well
  • Place one of the paper towel halves in container
  • Pour solution over paper towels

Filed under: Baby Wipes, DIY, , , , , , , ,

DIY Baby Wipes, Week 1: Power Up

Over the next few weeks I’m going to try a few instructions (recipes?) for homemade baby wipes. After I get a chance to try them out, I’ll post back on my favorites. Do you have any favorite methods? Have you tried any of these recipes? Please leave in the comments.

Not sure that the power tools are absolutely necessary, but blogger Bryan Horling details his method here, and makes a good case for the power tools. Bryan, my husband thanks you for turning a domestic task into a manly shop venture. In summary:
Materials

  • Roll of paper towels, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 tbs baby soap
  • 1 tbs baby oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • plastic container

Details at Bryan’s blog.

Filed under: Baby Wipes, DIY, , , , ,

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